Good Friday to you

The bumper sticker read, “If you want a country ruled by religion, move to Iran.” I could tell by other stickers on the car that the message aimed derisively at the so-called religious right. I took no offense, though at times I associate and agree with said group.
I took no offense because like the car’s driver, I have no desire for a country ruled by religion. I no more want President Obama or Speaker Boehner to craft my children’s prayers than the man in the moon. God calls parents, not politicians, to impress his commandments on their (and his) children. See Deuteronomy 6.

Still, we need religion in the public square. Better still, we need leaders with relationships with their creator. We need leaders whose faith can’t be compartmentalized to an hour on the weekend or a day out of the year. Even in a pluralistic society. Even in 2011. Especially then, in fact.

This weekend can remind us that heaven-earth relationships are possible. Therefore, this week I dust off my ministry degree as I do a few times a year to write about that which rises above politics: he who rose from the dead.

One of my favorites parts of the Easter story is when Mary Magdalene mistakes the resurrected Jesus for a cemetery gardener. Isn’t that just like us, we blurry-eyed humans? Desperately looking for what can save us, then finding it, then thinking it something else. It’s comical, really, our frailty.

“Sir,” she says. “If you have carried [Jesus] away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

“No, you won’t get me,” the Christ probably thought. “I am not where they have put me.”

He rarely is. We blurry-eyed humans have put him in a lot of places over the centuries, square inside many boxes. We don’t get him more often than we do.

Like when we put him with clean-cut preachers and he ends up with rough, shady and sinning types. It isn’t the healthy, he reminds us, that need a doctor.

We don’t get him when he shows up as hungry, thirsty, strange, sick or imprisoned. Or as an immigrant landscaper with an indecipherable tongue. A mere gardener, if you will.

How you treat these, he said, is how you treat me, the King of Heaven, the Gardener of Eden.

Jesus once described his heavenly father as a gardener tending a vine, removing the lifeless, refining the living. Oh, to be counted among the living, to receive humbly the pruning of the Good Shearer.

It would resurrect our relationships, improve our politics, and elevate our land – not to a country ruled by religion but to a people shaped by sacrifice.

3 Responses to “Good Friday to you”

  1. 1 Bennye Waskom April 22, 2011 at 21:57

    Kevin, Thanks for this…..something we all need to be reminded of when we interact with each other every day. Happy Easter!

  2. 2 Beverly April 25, 2011 at 02:02

    Don, Donald, or Mr. Thompson which ever would be correct for me to address you. Your Dad Mr. Don, to me; often times forwards your column to me and I have realy enjoyed him doing so, but I wanted you to know this is the tops so far. Keep ’em coming.

  3. 3 Judy Thompson April 25, 2011 at 02:12

    Hey Kevin,
    I couldn’t agree more. I love reading your articles. Keep up the good work. HE AROSE!! HE’S ALIVE!! Praise God.

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